Sunday, April 8, 2012

Classic Church in Cebu Needs Restoration

Two centuries-old churches in Cebu are undergoing restoration
following the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Negros
Oriental last February, church heritage officials said.

The Sta. Catalina de Alejandria Parish in Inayagan in Barangay
Valadolid, Carcar City is under going restoration work, but more coral
stones have fallen from its façade since the quake, said Msgr. Carlito
Pono of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Church Heritage.

The church was originally established as the convent of the La
Visitacion de la Nuestra Señora on June 21, 1599, according to the
book "Balaanong Bahandi" (Sacred Treasure of the Archdiocese of Cebu).

The apex of the pediment is topped with a cross and below it is a
mechanical clock with its gears still intact after all these years.

"We are restoring the original stones to its original place, which
became damp due to the water that flows from their sandayong (water
through) and flowed to the crack in the clock and in turn flowed down
to the stones in the column," said Pono.

"The heritage commission and the committee on sacred art were there
already. We were called by the parish priest to check the damage," he

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Tayasan in Negros Oriental at 11:49
a.m. last Feb. 6. There was no major damage and no deaths were
reported in Cebu Province, but geologists have observed ground
movements, including sink-holes and landslides.

A church that has suffered more structural damage is the San Francisco
de Asis Parish in Dumanjug town. The church was made into a parish in

The present church was started by Fr. Doroteo Godinez in 1854, using
coral stone and hardwood.

The most important feature of the church is the emblem of the Habsburg
royalty, the double-headed eagle that signifies that the King of Spain
contributed a large amount for its construction.

Fr. Brian Brigoli, Church heritage commission vice chairman, said the
quake displaced the coral stones at the belfry.

"But this was also aggravated by the newly installed dome, which is
made of solid cement. The original dome was made of light materials.
The weight of the new dome was too much for the belfry," he said.

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